Election in Kogi: The CBN governor is required to appear in court

Apr 25, 2024 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, seated in Abuja, issued a directive on Monday for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, to appear before it without fail on Tuesday. The tribunal sought explanations regarding the apex bank’s involvement in the November 11, 2023, off-cycle election in Kogi State.

The three-member panel, presided over by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, also warned of consequences for the CBN’s Director of Corporate Service. This development ensued following an application by Alex Izinyon, SAN, representing Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State, the second respondent in the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its gubernatorial candidate.

The tribunal had previously issued a subpoena on April 18, compelling the presence of the CBN governor or any of its officers to testify regarding allegations levelled by Gov. Ododo. Despite the tribunal’s directive for the CBN governor or its officer to appear on April 19, no representative from the apex bank attended the hearing.

After witnesses led by Paul Daudu, appearing for the Governor, were cross-examined on Monday, Izinyon informed the tribunal about the unavailability of CBN officers until Friday, April 26, as stated in a letter to the tribunal. He deemed the letter from the apex bank as contemptuous.

Aligning with Izinyon’s application, lawyers representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) supported the stance. However, they urged the court to proceed with the defence even if the CBN officers failed to appear.

In its ruling, the tribunal emphasized the significance of the subpoena, addressing it as a command in the name of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. The tribunal decried the apex bank’s communication, considering it contemptuous.

Consequently, the tribunal adjourned the matter until April 23 for the continuation of the second respondent’s defence and for the CBN to explain. Izinyon also mentioned their application for the record of proceedings, which the tribunal confirmed was ready and would be made available to the second respondent’s team.

Earlier witnesses from Kogi Local Government Areas testified in defence of Ododo’s election victory.

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